FanFic - Unconventional Pairings
"Sweet Dreams"
Part 1
by Mala
Disclaimer: Not mine. They belong to WB, Melinda Metz, and Jason Katims.
Summary: Isabel goes dreamwalking to meet her lover.
Category: Unconventional Pairings
Rating: R
Isabel Evans closed her eyes, letting the picture slip from her fingers as sleep pulled her under. Her slumbering body wore a smile that any onlooker would call enigmatic. . .and full of anticipation. When she appeared in the dream plane, she looked down. Her pink satin pajamas were perfect for the occasion. He loved anything she wore--mainly because she was never wearing it for long. He would stare at her with those incredible eyes and his mouth would go dry. She had no doubts. She moved into the candle-lit bedroom he'd dreamed up, inhaling the scene of his cologne and sweat. He was waiting for her on the bed, under the black silk sheets, ready to welcome her into his arms. "Hello, Isabel," he murmured, low and sexy, leaning against the headboard.

"Hi." She grinned, not knowing why she was blushing. They'd done this so many times in the last months. Secret meetings that belied the way they passed like strangers in public.

"Nervous?" he asked, arching an eyebrow. He was teasing. Something she hadn't known he was capable of until the first time. The first time had been an accident. She'd fallen into the wrong dream, which had turned out, irrevocably, to be the *right* dream.

"Why would I be nervous?" she moved slowly to the four poster Queen-sized bed that looked like it belonged in a catalog instead of a house. "I'm where I want to be, aren't I?"

Something flickered on his face. Regret? Fear? "I hope so," he muttered, dragging a hand through his hair. "I hope you are." There was such vulnerability on his face that she took no more slow steps. She climbed up into his arms and let him hold her tight. His lean but muscled frame set off sparks in every part of her.

It took her right back to that first meeting again. . .finding him slumped on the curb outside the CrashDown. *Crying*. Something no one who knew him would ever picture him doing. He'd been sobbing like a little kid and when she'd touched his shoulder, he'd just grabbed her around the middle and hidden his face in her lap. All she'd been able to do was stroke his hair, terrified, until he calmed down. She'd had no idea how she'd gotten into his dream. . .but she hadn't been able to leave it. Not when he looked up at her with desperation. Not when he whispered her name like it was his salvation. The teasing had come later. After the tears.

'Come here often?' he'd asked hoarsely, drying his eyes.

'Do you want me to?' she'd replied, taking his hand in both of hers.

The answer had been obvious.

She didn't care that it gave him proof of what she was. That it gave him a weapon to hurt her brother or Michael. All she cared about was what they'd found in that one, accidental, dreamwalk. It was weird. It was inexplicable. It was probably illegal.

"Why would you doubt me?" she asked him, kissing his weathered face softly. His forehead, his cheeks, his sharp jaw-line. "I don't doubt *you*, do I? I trust you. That's why I come here, you big jerk."

His strong hand wrapped in her hair, and he caught her roving lips with his own. The kiss rocked her straight to her toes and she knew that, back in her bedroom, her body was shuddering from the impact. "This is insane," he whispered into her mouth. "This is so insane."

"Its right," she argued, kissing him back, locking her legs around his waist. "Its right."

Without her, he would've had a dozen more dark dreams and woken up an even unhappier man. A more dangerous one, too. Without him, she would've shriveled up and resented every living thing around her. Especially the ones she loved the most. How could that be insane? How could that be wrong?

"Isabel. . .Isabel, can we really keep doing this?" he wondered, huskily.

His hands were sliding up her nightshirt, dancing along her spine. She took his face in her hands and pulled back to stare into his eyes. She smoothed the faint crow's feet on either side of them with her thumbs. "I think we *really* should," she confirmed. "When we're awake." "That wouldn't be a good idea." He gently slid her shirt up. "We'd get caught. . .and there would be Hell to pay."

She knew that. One of them always brought up the consequences when the other suggested they move their affair into reality. So she simply nodded and helped him pull her nightshirt over her head and throw it aside. Then she leaned in, resting her head on his chest as they slid down into the sheets.

"My eighteenth birthday," she sighed, watching white wax drip down the side of a candle on the bedside table. "On my eighteenth birthday I'm going to march over to your house in nothing but a trenchcoat."

"You'd give me a heart attack," he chuckled, kissing her hair.

"Haven't I all ready, Old Man?" She traced a circle around the place where his heart beat steadily, kissing the skin.

"Yeah." He looked down at her with the same emotion that always pulled her into his dreams. "Yeah, you have." He played with a few long strands of her hair, winding them around his fingertips. "I love you, Isabel Evans," he sighed.

When she said the words, they sounded almost ridiculous, but she knew she meant them. She meant them every time he passed her on the street or in the Crash Down. She meant them every time he pulled her over. She meant them every time they met in a dream.

"I love you, too, Jim Valenti." * Bright morning light streamed in through her window and Isabel awoke to the sound of her alarm going off, but nothing could spoil her day. Her wall calendar was marked with a big red heart.

It was one year to the day she'd chosen to turn eighteen--the date she'd picked after the Evans' had adopted her. An appropriate one, too, when one blacked out two of the letters.

Valenti's Day.

--The End--

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